Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy Right for You?
About the Author Dr. Steven P. Levine is a board-certified psychiatrist internationally recognized for his contributions to advancements in mental health care. Though he is a psychiatrist who places great emphasis on the importance of psychotherapy, medication is often a necessary component of treatment, and he was dissatisfied with the relatively ineffective available options with burdensome side effects. Dr. Levine pioneered a protocol for the clinical use of ketamine infusions, has directly supervised many thousands of infusions and has helped establish similar programs across the country and around the world.
It is hard to believe that an anesthesia drug can be one of the most effective treatments in the fight against treatment-resistant depression and mood disorder. Ketamine has been on the market for over 50 years now. I was one of the first providers who realized treatment-resistant depression and additional mental health conditions treated with ketamine could respond positively.
Depression, anxiety and pain disorders will directly affect an individual’s performance in every area of life. The fact that some patients will spend a large amount of time undergoing therapy sessions makes the disorders a real problem in society. Depression disorders are some of the toughest illnesses to treat due to the fact that they emanate from a number of sources. Despite the fact that Ketamine does not work in all cases, it is still one of the best alternatives for treatment. Dr. Levine’s treatment protocol is now being used in other centers nationally and it’s changing lives.
The mood disorder target communication channels in the brain challenging learning, higher thinking, and memory. Ketamine is amazingly able to repair this within hours. Some individuals will find relief after the first treatment. The infusion has to be done by a medical professional in every case. Unlike most of the commonly used antidepressants, Ketamine is able to cause a significant improvement in hours, not weeks to months. In addition, there are no side effects between Ketamine treatments, making it one of the safest and most reliable ways to deal with depression, anxiety, pain and mood disorders. Unlike Ketamine, most of today’s commonly prescribed medications can have side effects such as fatigue, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, and/or weight gain.
Mood Disorder Conditions Treated with Ketamine
- Major Depression (including Postpartum Depression)
- Bipolar Depression
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe Anxiety
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Fibromyalgia and some neuropathic pain syndromes
The Ketamine Experience
A Ketamine infusion has been mentioned by many people as ‘interesting’ or ‘different’. Patients are advised to stay awake during the procedure and concentrate on the sensations. Some will listen to music during the process while others will simply lay back and relax. The first 15 minutes may or may not be eventful. The next 20 minutes will produce a lightheadedness or a floating experience. Vision will be blurry as the dose takes effect. The feelings tend to build up as the dosage kicks in with some feeling a heightened sense of their surroundings. Some will experience a bout of talkativeness, feel odd and enjoy heightened senses. Rare cases will get headaches and nausea during the peak period. The dosage will then subside in the last 15 minutes of treatment. The whole experience takes about 50 to 60 minutes. The effect of the dosage will be felt within minutes of completing the treatment, with total benefits within a few hours after the treatment.
The effects of the treatments will last for days to months depending on the number of infusions done. Typically a series of 6 infusions over 2 weeks is recommended to help patients suffering from severe depression and other mood disorders. We also recommend that patients continue to work with their mental health providers and engage in cognitive behavioral therapy to reap the maximal benefits from ketamine infusion therapy.
Steven Levine, MD, is the CEO and founder of Actify Neurotherapies. He has been treating patients with ketamine therapy since 2011.